The History of the St. Ippolito Festival
By: Emma Spagnuolo Caruso
In the early nineteenth century, a terrible earthquake devastated St.
Ippolito, a small town near Cosenza in Calabria, Italy. Almost every home
and building was destroyed, except for the church, which was named St.
Ippolito Church after the town.
The people of St. Ippolito promised the saint St. Ippolito that if he
would protect them and their town from another earthquake, they would have a
festival every year in the month of August in his honor. Since then there
have been minor earthquakes in the region, but no earthquakes that have
destroyed any property.
The people of St. Ippolito kept their promise. Every year in the month of
August they celebrate the St. Ippolito Festival for three days with masses,
a procession thru the town with a band, concession stands, and at the end
there are fireworks.
The St. Ippolito people that came to America and settled in the Lansing
area missed the Festival. A group of people worked together to organize one.
In 1938, the first Festival of St. Ippolito was held at
Bunker Hill, Michigan.
Since then, every second Sunday of August they celebrate the St. Ippolito
Festival, to honor their beloved Saint. During World War II, the festival
was held at Church of the Resurrection in Lansing, Michigan, due to
rationing. The Festival
starts with a mass, followed by a procession and singing of the “Procession
Song” in Italian on the church grounds. The families bring food and have a
wonderful picnic and enjoy socializing with each other. The young children
enjoy the day very much by playing all kinds of games.